It's Time To Get Fat. Real Fat!
GARLIC and PROSCIUTTO and PORK LOIN…. OH MY!!! Apologies for the cliché statement and “Wizard of OZ” reference, but it applies! Cheesy— I KNOW, but I couldn’t help it! YES, we have a hassle-back style pork loin that is wrapped in prosciutto. [NOTE: You saw it first on jarOhoney.com I think :)] This is then stuffed with pork fat caramelized garlic and fresh thyme. To finish this amazing dish off, all is drizzled with an apple juice and apple cider vinegar reduction here people! SOOOO succulent and juicy, am salivating as I write this!! As a note, this is for all of you out there that stick to a PALEO LIFESTYLE…. feel free to INDULGE! So the story started with that I have a beautiful jar of PURE PORK LARD from Fatworks and decided that I needed to highlight PORK in this paleo roasted garlic hassle-back pork loin recipe. I baked this amazing hassle-back in a small seasoned cast iron pan in the oven: to give it a traditional rustic flare. Although you will be able to serve this at ANY meal, you could also serve it at a high end dinner party… The presentation will be talked about in the future for sure. I picture placing the cast iron pan right on the serving table onto a trivet and serve it “family style”…. ENJOY!!
Take your whole pork loin and remove the excess fat and silver skin with a small sharp knife. With a regular fork, pierce all sides every 2 to 3 inches. Mix 1 1/2 cups of the apple juice with the flake salt into a medium bowl–this is your brine. Place the pierced pork loin in it and flip to coat with the brine. Allow to brine/marinate for 1 hour, flipping occasionally.
In a small saucepan, put in 2 cups of the apple juice, the apple cider vinegar, and the reserved thyme stems. On medium heat, reduce while stirring often. After 30 minutes, remove the stems with a fork and discard. Continue to reduce the liquid, stirring often, until it is 1/4 of the starting volume. Remove from the heat and allow to cool until plating. This is your apple juice reduction.
In a small cast iron pan (one that the pork loin takes up most of the volume– see pic), heat 1 tablespoon of the pure pork lard on medium-high heat. Add in the whole garlic cloves. While stirring often, medium-lightly caramelize until light golden brown. Remove the garlic from the pan and reserve. Place the remaining 1 tablespoon of pure pork lard in the pan, stir in and allow to melt. Remove the pan from the heat. Reserve this infused fat in the pan.
Allow the garlic to cool for 15 minutes. Fine chop the garlic in your food processor and place in a small bowl. Stir in the fresh thyme leaves. Reserve.
Pre-heat your oven to 350F….On a clean dry surface, lay out horizontally, the double layers of prosciutto. Place each double layer horizontally side by side overlapping the edges about 3/4 of an inch to make a long line of prosciutto.
Remove your pork loin from the brine and pat dry with a clean paper towel. Roll the pork loin in the cast iron pan with the infused fat to completely coat it on all sides. Place the pork loin onto the prosciutto line in the middle– lengthwise.
Starting from the top, roll the prosciutto line onto the pork loin, meeting in the middle of the loin horizontally. Now wrap the bottom section of the prosciutto up to the seam of the first wrap about 1/2 inch overlapping. Press down to seal. Tuck in the ends (if applicable) of the pork loin so the prosciutto covers the whole loin– to make a uniform wrapped roll. Flip the whole wrapped loin over upside down so that the overlapped seams of the prosciutto are now on the bottom of the “ROLL”. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
With a very sharp large knife, cut the wrapped pork loin into 12 even pieces but ONLY 3/4 of the way through the top to the bottom, this makes your hassle-back. Now gently place the hassle-back into the cast iron pan. Curl the hassle-back like a U shape (see pic above). Stuff the CUTS evenly with the garlic and thyme mix.
Place the uncovered, whole cast iron pan with the dressed hassle-back into the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes. Baste every 15 minutes by gently tilting the pan and spoon out the drippings. Baste onto the complete top of the hassle-back. Be sure to get the basting liquid into the CUTS. After the 30 minutes is up, turn the oven off. Keep the pan in the oven to carry over cook for about 20 to 25 minutes. Test the internal temp of the hassle-back, it should be 140F with your calibrated thermometer. The juices would run clear. Baste every10 minutes as instructed before. If not to 140F, leave in oven for another 5 minutes at a time and test…. Remove from the oven, allow to rest for 10 minutes. Remove any spots in the pan that collected cooked fat. Drizzle the apple juice reduction evenly all over the top and serve.
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